POLICE chiefs have hailed Oldham Times readers who helped a man recover his stolen car.

Jonathan Waterhouse’s £19,000 Nissan Qashqai was taken from outside his home in St John’s Street in Oldham, just five days after he bought it.

After we published news of the theft on our website and Facebook page, 26-year-old Jonathan was inundated with messages advising him where his car might have been abandoned.

That information led him to the streets of Ashton, where he spent six hours looking for the car, before finding it parked in Minto Street.

CCTV footage from a garage near Jonathan’s home showed the car being jacked up at the front and loaded on to a flatbed truck in just two minutes at 5.30am on Thursday, November 29.

By 10pm that evening, Jonathan had located his car. He has since been told the way the car was stolen is a tactic used by a local gang to leave the car parked in a street for 24 hours to make sure it has not been fitted with a tracker.

Jonathan has now fitted a tracker to his car.

A senior Oldham police spokesman said: “Oldham police are very pleased that Mr Waterhouse has been able to get his car back and we are very grateful to The Oldham Times for their role in recovering the stolen car.

“Theft of cars in this way is something we are aware of and, yes, it is known that car thieves will park a car and leave it for a day or so until they think it does not have a tracker fitted.

“Low levels of vehicle theft persist right across the Oldham and Greater Manchester area and we welcome any information that the public has to offer to help us identify who is involved in these types of offences.

“If any member of the public is suspicious of a vehicle parked in the area, then we would ask them to call us and let us know using the 101 – non emergency number.

“It’s a quick and easy check for us to make to see if a car is stolen so please do ring and report anything suspicious.

“Car crime is relatively uncommon, but can be terribly upsetting if you are unlucky enough to have your car stolen.

“Our advice is to keep vigilant and take some sensible precautions such as getting a tracker fitted, use a steering wheel type locking device, use motion sensitive security lights in your drive and park the car in a well-lit area. Never leave valuable unattended in your car.”